DEAR JERRY: I sent in a question awhile ago and haven't seen it addressed yet. Did I miss your reply or did I come up with a real stumper?
It is about a spoken-word recording that I heard only twice on the radio, shortly after the popularity of Hudson & Landry's “Ajax Liquor Store” and was, I believe, by them as well. I'm pretty sure it is titled “The Mightiest Nation,” and it is an oral examination of the problems and decline of what sounds like our (then) modern society. Only at the end is it revealed to be a description of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.
I've searched and asked many about this, and also scoured the web for clues. I even e-mailed a former radio partner of one of the Hudson & Landry comedy duo, but no one knows a thing about “The Mightiest Nation.” Can you provide any verification and information on this recording?
Patrick K. McKillip, SeaTac, Wash. (Patrick.McKillip@PSS.Boeing.com)
DEAR PATRICK: You neither missed it since before today there was no reply nor is it a stumper.
One of the problems in trying to research a song title, whether on the Net or at the library, is the importance of getting the first word right.
For example, searching through the 'M' files for “The Mightiest Nation” would never have turned this one up, for the full title is “Fate of the Mightiest Nation” (Dore 891). It is a summer 1973 release by (Bob) Hudson & (Ron) Landry. On the B-side of this single is the somewhat divergent “Chocolate Freak.”
One is titled “Geronimo,” and it came out around 1959.
The other I heard played in the film “Good Morning Vietnam. It sounds a bit like the Dave Clark 5, but it is not them. I think the title is “It's Alright.”
Keith Lange, St. Meinrad, Ind.
DEAR KEITH: Nothing titled just “Geronimo” has made any of the U.S. charts; however, there are a couple of singles issued in 1959 bearing that title. One is by Tony Douglas (D 1075), the other by the Renegades (American International 537). Perhaps one is the recording you seek.
Though the title varies slightly, there is another possibility. Barry Darvell's “Geronimo Stomp” did get some regional air play that same year.
You say “around 1959,” but there doesn't seem to be anything Geronimo related in either 1958 or '60.
When it comes to your second musical mystery, I can be of a bit more help. It is likely “It's Alright,” a Top 40 hit from early 1965, by London's Adam Faith (Amy 913).
DEAR JERRY: I've been having a disagreement with folks who think the Bette Midler was the first to sing “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”
I am sure that I watched Perry Como sing that song on TV many years before Midler's version came out. Am I right?
Carol DiTabbio, East Haven, Conn.
DEAR CAROL: You are certainly right about Midler, and perhaps about Como too.
Bette's recording, from the film “Beaches,” came out in 1989. Before hers, many versions of “The Wind Beneath My Wings” existed, including an album of that title by Roger Whittaker (RCA AFL1-4321) issued in mid-1982.
Like anyone else, it is certainly possible that Perry Como could have sung the song on TV, years before Bette's waxing.
IZ ZAT SO? Brothers Dean and Marc Mathis, along with Larry Henley, made up the popular mid-'60s trio, the Newbeats. Among their biggest hits are “Bread and Butter; Everything's Alright;” and “Run, Baby Run (Back into My Arms).”
It is this same Larry Henley who, teamed with Jeff Silbar, wrote “The Wind Beneath My Wings.”